steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

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French Kicks

"One Time Bells" CD

StarTime Internatinal

Genres: indie rock, indie pop

285 5th Ave. PMB #452
Brooklyn, NY 11215

June 9 - 16 2002

French Kicks isn't about kicking the French.  Nor is it about the French kicking anyone.  But enough about what it isn't, what is it?

French Kicks is an indie rock band.  Quite an interesting one, actually.  They boast a very unique style, combining traditional pop elements with discordant, almost spasmodic guitar chords.  Despite the connotations of "spasmodic", though, this album is not thrashing or powerful.  In fact, it's deceptively mellow - calm, yet intense; relaxing, yet edgy.  It is clear that French Kicks have their own style, and that is certainly an accomplishment in today's indie scene.  However, the band's formula doesn't work all the time, and, as a result, a few of the tracks on "One Time Bells" fail.

First of all, it must be said that there are a lot of good tracks on this album.  The best song of all, quite clearly, is "Where We Went Off".  A soft little charmer, it shows its true beauty on the very first listen, featuring a chorus that just works perfectly.  The band consiciously keeps their signature discordance at a minimum, and the track flows beautifully as a result.   "Sunday Night Is Fair" works similarly, as well, winning you over with its sensitive guitar strokes.  "Wrong Side" is somewhat different, introducing itself as a sixties-influenced rock romp and then slowly throwing in some offkey guitar chimes to mix things up.  However, the piece holds up well, and the chimes are used effectively, lending the song its own style.

For all the good, though, some of French Kicks' songs don't work as well.  "Crying Just For Show" doesn't ever seem to come together properly, and you may find yourself skipping over "Close To Modern" on repeated listens.

However, it's clear that the good outnumbers the band on this album, and it is, altogether, a mighty fine listen.  If you want some indie rock that's got it's own style, you may want to give "One Time Bells" a try.   I'm sure glad I did.


Matt Shimmer